Naim Atom HE and Kef LS50 Wireless

Has anybody heard the Atom HE paired with Kef LS50 II Wireless active speakers? I am wondering about going down this route for a dedicated small 3.5m x 3.8m music and tv room. I currently have a pair of ATC SCM 11s in my main system and could use those but the Kef would suit the room better visually and I wouldn’t need a separate power amp and speaker cables. I want good quality music but am prepared to make a small compromise to keep SWMBO onboard with my plan. All views welcomed

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I haven’t heard the two together but if you do try that then you will be paying for streamer and DAC in the KEFs that you won’t be using which seems a bit of a waste of money. I know that several people have used the Atom HE with active Acoustic Energy AE1s to great success and that would seem a sensible combination to try. Good luck with your experiments!

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I must repeat what Crisp Duck said about the active AE1 , I’ve heard good things about the pairing

You can’t bypass the internal DACS inside the KEFs.

I have the mk1 LS50 actives which I use with an Innuos Zenith and Phoenix USB reclocker.

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Thanks for the replies so far. I will be relying on the Dac in the Atom HE will this then be affected or degraded in anyway by the Dac in the Kef LS50 Wireless do you think?

The AE1’s are a much better price but on reading reviews they seem to need plenty of space to side and rear walls and perhaps the Kef can take near-wall placement better. TheAE1s also need a power lead for each speaker and cables from the pre-amp to each speaker. I have no problem with two speaker cables and 2 power leads but I don’t want to compromise the sound if I cannot place them in free space. Ideally I need speakers close to a rear wall and fairly close to a side wall

Have you bought the Atom HE yet? If not then you may well be better off buying a standard Atom and running it with a pair of Proac Tablette 10’s. The Tab 10’s are sealed boxes and are very happy next to a wall ( but remember no speaker enjoys being tight in a corner). I had an Atom and Tab 10’s and they are a great combination.

If you are dead set on the Atom HE then you could buy the Tab 10’s and a second hand NAP 100 for less than the KEF’s

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Thanks again crispyduck
I prefer the Atom HE because of its ability to drive headphones well. I could use my ATC 11s temporarily. They work well in the room and can also be placed reasonably close to the rear and side walls but I am hoping to retain then for a different system. I would like and wish to find something smaller which didn’t dominate as much as the ATCs and their Solid Steel stands

An Atom HE and LS50 wireless sound like two separate systems to me…

How were you planning to connect the two?

What sources are you using?

Hi Andy
Mainly streaming from Qubuz but also by attached www hard drive or maybe a ripper/hard drive. The Atom appeals because it has a good headphone amp and also a power amp but I’m open to suggestions

Um. The Atom HE doesn’t have a power amp, so you can’t use it to drive passive speakers. It does have balanced preamp outputs on xlr, which could be used to drive long interconnects to active speakers. I don’t think the LS50W2’s have balanced inputs. The Atom also has unbalanced preamp outputs on rca, which are not as likely to work well with long interconnects. The LS50W2’s appear to have only a 3.5mm stereo ‘aux’ jack input. The Atom HE has no digital outputs, so the digital inputs on the LS50W2’s don’t help.

Unless you really really need the HE version - how difficult are your headphones? how much do you use them? - I suspect you would be better off with the ‘standard’ Atom and a pair of passive speakers… for example the LS50 Meta.

If you really really like the ‘wireless’ of the LS50W2’s, then I would consider them as a separate system and forget trying to link them to the Atom HE. Practically, they are likely to be physically separated by some distance, so that’s either long interconnects, or very long headphone leads!

I did not use with a pair of KEF but connected it to a Pair of Focal Solo 6be studio monitors with a vovox textura fortis balanced cable, and that makes an amazing little and powerful system.

So depending on the amplified speakers you can have a little amazing system that also can be great with your headphones.

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Thanks Sonwleo for your suggestion. Perhaps Focal will bring out more active speaker models because of the popularity of the Atom HE and the much talked about likely replacement for the 272 together with a general trend towards smaller, more discreet systems and smaller homes

If what you’re really looking for is active speakers, there’s no shortage, across the whole price range.

I like (and use) Genelec…

Thanks Andy - I’ve never heard of those but have now seen some interesting posts online about them. Which streamer & pre-amp do you use with them?

I have a pair of Genelec 8020b. Normal use case is with an M-Audio usb interface connected to a laptop, used when tracking and mixing my son’s band before they started using a professional studio. More recently I have used them in the same configuration, but with Roon bridge installed on the laptop and fed via Roon.

I think they’d work pretty well with an Atom HE. If you need more bass extension, there’s a well matched Genelec sub, or buy the bigger ones!

Tonal balance seems pretty neutral to me, reference being Rogers Studio 1a’s in the living Room, and Chartwell LS3/5 in the ‘studio control room’ (aka daughter’s old bedroom) now.

Some of the pro-audio ‘studio monitor’ active speakers at the lower end of the market are not as neutral as their marketing would have you believe.

thanks for the information. I’m not sure if they would work in my room but their size and credentials seem good. There was a an interesting and very positive review of their big brother’s, 8331 or 8341 from Dario’s website - he bought himself a pair and was very impressed

Ha! Yes, those are several rungs above my pay grade… although the thought has crossed my mind. In case you hadn’t noticed, pro-audio tends to be priced as singles rather than pairs, so even the 8331’s aren’t a budget option.

They also make extensive use of DSP internally, making it a much more sensible idea to feed them a digital signal. Much like the LS50W2’s in that respect, although the KEF’s are really intended as a stand alone streaming solution.

As always - pick your compromise, pay up!

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Why do you think they might not?

I was under the impression that studio monitors give a clear accurate sound that may not work as well in a domestic environment. The Atom HE has RCA and balanced XLR preamp outputs which should ok for connecting to a range of power amps or active speakers

I appreciate now that it would be a waste of money to connect a pair of Kef LS50 wireless speakers to the Atom HE.

If you like the ATC’s I don’t think you’d have a problem with Genelec.

I guess you’re going to have to see what you can find… lots of options! :wink: